Abingdon Branch Freight Cars

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat May 23 17:50:19 EDT 2020

I would also like to see a list of industries served by the Branch.  Based on RMC, Railroad and other articles, some industries have been mentioned but I suspect there were a few that had no siding … they used team/house tracks at Damascus, West Jefferson, etc.  There was a coal dealer next to the WJ station with just a pit in the house track.  A photo in the Archives shows an Interstate hopper over that pit in 1956-57.


What I’m really looking for is an ICC valuation map for WJ showing trackage and buildings.  I’ve read about a siding that turned off of the main next to the station that curved back into town for a block or two.  There’s a photo in a softcover book about the line (https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9780738588148?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1sephfvK6QIVgbbICh2RywI7EAQYASABEgKKQPD_BwE <https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9780738588148?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1sephfvK6QIVgbbICh2RywI7EAQYASABEgKKQPD_BwE&ef_id=XsmZ7AAAAP3Lo6p0:20200523214724:s> &ef_id=XsmZ7AAAAP3Lo6p0:20200523214724:s) with a poor photo showing a round end gon (either C&O or CRR) next to what might be where the coal was hand-shoveled out of it for storage.


I’ve not found ICC val maps in the Archives.  Do we have them for this region?  Sanborn maps might be of help but generally aren’t super-accurate for trackage since they were used for fire insurance mostly.  Topo maps are also useful but must be VERY old versions that have not been updated.  The current WJ topo map has all trackage removed just out side of the core city area, then resumes all the way to Abingdon.


Jim King

 <http://smokymountainmodelworks.com/> http://smokymountainmodelworks.com/


From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> 
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2020 10:09 PM
To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
Subject: Re: Abingdon Branch Freight Cars


Let me tell you how lucky I was.  The grade southbound through Green Cove is 3 percent except for a short level stretch in front of the depot.  Above Green Cove there is a right-hand  horseshoe curve on that 3 percent on the way up to White Top.  I was riding with my Grandfather one fine day; the train consisted of the 382 and 429 on the head end, ten southern Railway hoppers loaded with rock for a highway project in NC, the 433 as pusher and then the passenger cars.  Standing in the open door of the ten or eleven, I don’t remember which, and looking across the horseshoe at the two engines on the head end, and hearing them, and listening to the 433 just ahead . . .   Well, I’ll remember it until I can’t remember anything else.  That rock in those Southern hoppers didn’t want to go up that mountain, but they went.  But it took all the guts the three Ms had to get them up there.


- Ed King


From: NW Mailing List 

Sent: Friday, May 22, 2020 4:27 PM

To: 'NW Mailing List' 

Subject: Abingdon Branch Freight Cars


Looking at photos of trains #201 and #202 on the Abingdon Branch in the mid-50’s, it seems like those trains mostly consisted of boxcars and gondolas with a few hoppers, a pulpwood car and occasional tank car. What industries were served by the N&W on that branchline in that time period ?  I am particularly interested in West Jefferson, NC.


Is there an official list of the industries served by that line?



Paul Mandelkern

Winter Park, FL




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